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Main News
Amarinder Singh resigns as Punjab CM, says will not accept Sidhu for top post
 
Chandigarh, Captain Amarinder Singh resigned on Saturday as Chief Minister of poll-bound Punjab and said he will oppose if state party president Navjot Singh Sidhu is named the next CM by the party.

Singh, who resigned from the post on Saturday amid dramatic developments and infighting fuelled by state party president Navjot Singh Sidhu, said he was feeling "humiliated" as the central leadership called a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party without consulting him.

The CLP meeting was meanwhile attended by 78 out of 80 MLAs in the state, who passed two resolutions unanimously - one thanking Singh, and other asking Congress President Sonia Gandhi to appoint his successor.

Singh, who was visibly miffed, and vocal about his disappointment, said after his resignation that the party leadership can appoint anyone to the top post. Hours later, in his interactions with the media, he accused Sidhu of being a friend of Pakistan, and said he should not be appointed the chief minister.

"He attended the swearing in ceremony of (Pakistan Prime Minister) Imran Khan, gave a hug to (Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed) Bajwa when our soldiers were being killed," Singh said, slamming Sidhu.

"It is for Congress to decide who they want to appoint as the chief minister, but if they appoint Sidhu I will oppose," he said, adding that he had warned party president Sonia Gandhi about Sidhu.

He said Sidhu being the chief minister of the state that shares a border with Pakistan will be a security concern.

Asked what happened in his conversation with Sonia Gandhi, he said he questioned her about a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party being called without asking him.

'I spoke to the Congress president today and asked her what this was. I offered to resign and she asked me to go ahead," he said.

Congress sources said the decision was taken after getting feedback from MLAs and party workers.

Singh, who is 71-years-old and has spent 52 years in politics, said he was feeling "humiliated" by the recent developments in the Congress. He met Governor Banwarilal Purohit at Raj Bhawan here and handed over his resignation shortly before the CLP meeting.

'I feel humiliated. So I decided to resign... They can make anyone CM anyone on whom they have confidence," he said.

The move met with criticism, with ruling BJP as well as Opposition leaders criticising the step.

Bharatiya Janata Party said Congress has 'insulted' Amarinder Singh and called him a "patriot" as he resigned from the post of chief minister of Punjab, months ahead of state polls.

"Amarinder Singh is a patriot, he has been insulted by the Congress," BJP spokesperson Syed Zafar Islam said.

Asked if the BJP would welcome Singh, Islam said doors of the party are not shut for anyone.

"The doors of BJP are open to any one who is a nationalist," the spokesperson said.

National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah meanwhile questioned how the Congress would fight the BJP when its leaders are fighting among themselves.

"I guess it’s too much to expect the Congress to take the fight to the BJP when its state leaders are too busy fighting amongst themselves," Abdullah said in a tweet on Saturday.

"Ordinarily I wouldn’t give a toss about the fratricide in the Congress party - their party, their business.

However, what the Congress does has a direct fallout for every political party outside the NDA orbit because almost 200 Lok Sabha seats see a direct BJP - Cong fight," he said.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is the main opposition party in Punjab, took a potshots and said the infighting within Congress is not to save Punjab but to push the state into darkness.

'The administration in Punjab has almost collapsed and have failed in implementing their own manifesto,' he told the reporters in Delhi on Saturday.

To questions about his future course of action, he made it clear that he would remain in politics.

"Future politics will always remain an option.... I will meet my associates and discuss my future course in politics," he said.

Sidhu has been raising questions over the Chief Minister's governance for quite some time and intensified his attack on Captain Amarinder Singh ever since he was appointed as the party president.

The developments come just months ahead of the polls scheduled to be held in the state next year.


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